Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bucket Lists

I've never really been the sort to write lists.  Actually, that's not true. I write shopping lists. Then forget to take them with me (now I cheat and use my mobile 'phone, although then I have the problem of actually trying to read what's on the little screen. But, hey, at least I have the list with me even though I can't actually refer to it).

When I was 18 I felt a strong urge to better myself and made a list of authors I needed to explore and things I'd like to learn. I actually did some of them, too.  I learn the flute - not to any great degree but I could puff out a tune - and I read some of my 'improving' books.  Unfortunately I didn't do too well.  Madame Bovary was, to my mind, a right little one and Anna Karenina, far from being caught up in some doomed love was a bit of a bitch.  My sympathy lay solely with Vronsky.  I did read a few Thackeray but have to admit I have never read the last hundred pages of War and Peace (although I've read the body of the book at least twice, so maybe I get a little kudos for that at any rate).  And I did discover Anthony Trollope who joined Jane Austen as a favoured writer.

I'm fairly certain there were languages on that list as well although it is an awfully long time ago so I can't be certain. I've certainly tried to learn languages: Welsh (obligatory) and French in School.  Greek, Hebrew and Medieval Latin in University. On my own I've tried German and Russian but I concluded (long before Lord Robert Winston) that if one can have an aptitude for languages one can have the reverse.  I am linguistically disabled.  It's very sad.

One of the reasons I left my first husband was because I realized I was almost 40 and hadn't achieved any of the things I wanted to. Which, I know, sounds terribly selfish but true. I could envisage me on my death bed mourning the wasted life.  Unfortunately one can't respawn and even if there is such a thing as reincarnation then since one doesn't have a memory of the previous life then any lessons go unlearnt and dreams unremembered.

In the last 9 years I can't say I've achieved any of them, although my soul is more at peace. I've gradually accepted that they will remain undone, unreachable, but I refuse to put them onto Flavia. She has, and will have, her own dreams; she certainly doesn't need to be encumbered with mine.  For posterity, however, I'm going to list them - or at least some of them. I'm not sure even I can remember them all.

1.   Security. A home of my own rather than living in temporary accommodation.

2.   To see the stars without light pollution. To be able to gaze up and marvel.

3.  To see lions, giraffe, tigers and the animals of Africa (large place, I know) in their natural habitat.

4.   To visit Machu Pichu

5.   To see beavers and otters.

6.   To see hummingbirds and kingfishers. To watch a lyre bird dance.

7.   To see the giant redwoods.

8.  To watch the Aurora Borealis above my head.

9.   To go to the Galapagos Islands

10.  To go out dancing.

11.  To wear a pretty, impractical dress.

12.  To hear and see wolves (from safety, of course).  Ditto bears.

13.  To visit Uluru

14.  To ride a horse.

15.  To be able to sit in a vast wood, watch the birds and listen to the wind rustle the leaves of the trees

16.  To try a real bobsled.

17.  To know what it's like to not worry about money every single day.

18.  To sit on a porch swing at twilight.

19.  To grow old disgracefully

20.  To feel attractive.

21.  To see dolphins, seahorses and puffins in their natural habitat.  Oh, and whales.

22.  To see living coral rather than the dead, dried stuff one can buy

Too much?  Too little?  Who cares?  It's mine.

I just hope Flavia gets to fulfil at least half of hers.

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